THE SEARCH has started for the UK's most wildlife friendly farmer.
The RSPB Nature of Farming Award – supported by Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife – recognises those farmers who have done the most to help threatened wildlife such as skylarks, brown hares, bees, butterflies and plants.
RSPB head of conservation management and one of this year’s judges, Nick Droy, said: “More and more farmers are recognising that running a profitable farm business and helping wildlife on your land can go hand in hand. The RSPB provides advice to help farmers do their bit for nature on their farm and we’ll support them every step of the way, but ultimately, it’s them and their local communities that do the hard work. They’re the real heroes.
“The recent EU Budget deal dealt a terrible hand to Europe’s wildlife, with potentially huge cuts to wildlife friendly farming schemes.
“But there is hope for the UK, a country which has led the way in investing in this field. If Owen Paterson shows leadership and uses his powers wisely to ensure that as much funding as possible will go towards those farmers and land managers who provide the greatest benefits for wildlife and the countryside, then all will not be lost.
“In excess of 30,000 RSPB supporters lobbied David Cameron to vote for Nature at the European Budget meeting by voting for a favourable outcome for wildlife. We hope the PM and his Environment Secretary have taken notice of this.”
Farms have until April 18 to enter. Eight regional winners will be chosen, with four going forward to the national final. For details see www.rspb.org.uk/natureoffarming